Here’s how much weight you could gain on these antidepressants

Antidepressants are commonly used to treat various mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, these medications can lead to weight gain as a side effect, which is a significant concern for many individuals. A new study sheds light on the average weight gain associated with eight commonly prescribed antidepressants.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, analyzed the weight gain of over 183,000 people who started an antidepressant for the first time. Sertraline, also known as Zoloft and Lustral, was associated with an average gain of nearly 0.5 pounds (0.2 kilograms) at six months, which rose to 3.2 pounds (1.46 kilograms) at 24 months.

Compared to sertraline, people taking escitalopram, sold under the brand names Lexapro and Cipralex, had an average 15% increased risk of gaining at least 5% of their baseline weight at six months. The risk was 14% for paroxetine, sold under the names Paxil, Aropax, Pexeva, Seroxat, Sereupin, and Brisdelle, and 10% for duloxetine, sold by the brand names Cymbalta, Loxentia, and Yentreve.

Weight gain of 5% or more over baseline is considered clinically significant for health. The study found no significantly higher or lower risk for citalopram, fluoxetine, or venlafaxine when compared to sertraline.

One antidepressant, bupropion (Wellbutrin and Zyban), was associated with a small amount of weight loss at six months, with people who took bupropion dropping almost one quarter of a pound (0.01 kilograms) at six months, before gaining 1.2 pounds (0.56 kilograms) at 24 months.

The study did not examine mirtazapine, an antidepressant that is sometimes used in the treatment of eating disorders. The exact mechanism by which antidepressants contribute to weight gain is unknown.

Patients who are concerned about weight gain should have an open and honest conversation with their clinician about their concerns. Clinicians have to weigh all factors when deciding which medication is right for a given patient, including the patient’s clinical symptoms, medical history, any other drugs they are already taking, and possible side effects they are concerned about.

To avoid weight gain, patients can strive to follow healthy eating habits and exercise regularly. For more information on mental health and other topics, visit

.st1{display:none}See more